January 12, 2013

Traffic program bringing in revenue


---- — MALONE — The 2012 year-end report from Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne shows some programs are producing more revenue.

A new traffic-diversion program, started last June, allows certain drivers to pay a $150 fee and complete a safety course to dispose of their case.

That generated $57,600 by the end of 2012. The money is disbursed to towns and villages where the tickets were issued, Champagne said.


Another $81,840 was taken in through the collection of previously unpaid and uncollected fines from other criminal cases where the defendant was convicted and had not paid court-ordered financial penalties. The office closed 92 cases in 2012, leaving 184 open.


The expense of prosecuting state-prison inmates can be reimbursed by the state, and Champagne said that could mean between $20,000 and $40,000 more being returned to Franklin County.

Currently, 16 felony cases qualify, and cases from the previous four years might be able to be billed, as well.

But the loss of three staff people in tough budget times has prevented the DA from getting the proper paperwork filed. He has money set aside in his 2013 budget to pay for a person and hopes to have someone hired soon.


Legislators also recently gave the DA $5,000 and approval to start a county-wide gun buyback program, where rifles, shotguns, pistols and any other operational firearms can be turned in, no questions asked.

A fee will be paid to those turning one in, with more given for an assault weapon or pistol.

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